The Dribbler: Sometimes he'd just like to chuck it all

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Has there ever been anyone as revered for achieving so little than Punxsutawney Phil?

Before that little rodent emerged from his hole on Gobbler's Knob last Saturday, his all-time percentage of accurately predicting an early spring or long winter stood at approximately 39 percent.

Pretty lackluster, right?

In comparison, The Dribbler was 58-29 (.666) prior to Thursday's games. This past week, he boasted a sparkling record of 10-1.

But amazingly, a lazy groundhog has a much-celebrated annual observance and The Dribbler does not. Heck, that Pennsylvania Lottery groundhog Gus -- self-proclaimed as the second most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania -- is a more deserved pick than "Punxsu-phony Phil." At least Gus talks. That accounts for something, doesn't it?

The Dribbler will end his rant there. You might call it sour grapes, but that Phil character is one bad apple.

Here's a prediction ... The WPIAL/City League regular season will conclude early next week. The season, which seemed like it began last week, is expected to stage its first playoff games next Friday.

The Dribbler will be ready. He does his best work in crunch time.

As for Phil? Well, expect his early spring prediction to be yet another failure in his well-regarded, yet ridiculously overvalued career.

Here is The Dribbler's take on some top upcoming games.

Top boys games

Central Catholic at Fox Chapel, 7:30 p.m. today -- A Central Catholic win would give the Vikings (15-5, 11-2) their first outright section title (Class AAAA Section 2) since 2003-04, while Fox Chapel (10-3) can make it a split. Gateway (10-3) is also alive. Central Catholic has won seven games in a row. Fox Chapel is 6-1 at home. Winner: Fox Chapel.

New Castle at Hampton, 7:30 p.m. today -- This sets up as a dangerous game for undefeated New Castle, which has won all of its games by at least 16 points. When these teams met on Jan. 15, New Castle led by just two points early in the fourth quarter, before pulling away for a 75-54 win. If Hampton can keep it close for just a little longer, it has a shot. Winner: New Castle.

Thomas Jefferson at West Mifflin, 7:30 p.m. today -- Matt Gavlik was a standout guard for West Mifflin in the late 1990s. Gavlik's brother, Mike, is the City League athletic director. What effect does that have on this game? Well, nothing. This is a big one, though. If West Mifflin wins, the Titans and Jaguars will share the Class AAA Section 4 title. Winner: West Mifflin.

Other top boys games

(Home team in all CAPS) DEER LAKES over Burrell (7:30 p.m. tonight); Imani Christian over WILKINSBURG (7:30 p.m. tonight); Clairton over MONESSEN (2:30 p.m. Saturday); Obama Academy over WESTINGHOUSE (7 p.m. Monday).

Top girls games

Hempfield at North Allegheny, 3:30 p.m. Saturday -- In this battle of section champions, what will win out: Offense or defense? North Allegheny owns the top scoring defense in Class AAAA (32.5 points per game), while Hempfield has the second-best scoring offense (61.4). Neither team has lost since December. Playoff seeding could be on the line. Winner: North Allegheny.

Blackhawk at Penn-Trafford, 7:30 p.m. Monday -- Going into last night's games, Blackhawk and Vincentian were the only undefeated teams in the WPIAL. Tough non-section challenges to end the season await both of them. The Dribbler gives the edge to the team with the best player on the floor: Blackhawk's Chassidy Omogrosso. Winner: Blackhawk.

Vincentian at Gateway, 7:30 p.m. Monday -- If this one is anywhere close to as good as last year's game, it will be a real treat. Vincentian outlasted Gateway, 84-77, in two overtimes, the second year in a row the Class A Royals closed out the regular season by beating the Class AAAA Gators. Make it three in a row. Winner: Vincentian.

Other top girls games

(Home team in all CAPS) Belle Vernon over GREENSBURG CENTRAL CATHOLIC (7 p.m. Saturday, Westmoreland County Hoopfest at Greensburg Central Catholic); OBAMA ACADEMY over Westinghouse (7 p.m. Monday); NORTH ALLEGHENY over Chartiers Valley (7:30 p.m. Monday); South Park over ELIZABETH FORWARD (6 p.m. Monday).

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